What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Star Wars-centered comedy really pushes the limits for PG-13, with lots of swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), drinking, smoking, and sexual content (particularly discussions of sex and sex acts, though naked butts are also shown). That said, under all the rude and crude comedy is a message about friendship and believing in something.
What's the story?
In 1998, with the long-awaited Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace still a year from release, three friends obsess about how much they're looking forward to the film. At first, Eric (Sam Huntington), who "outgrew" Star Wars and his friends long ago, mocks their passion. But then Hutch (Dan Fogler) and Windows (Jay Baruchel) explain that Linus (Christopher Marquette), Eric's oldest friend, has cancer and won't survive until the film debuts. Inspired, Eric joins the other three in an ill-thought-out plan to drive from Ohio to California, break into the Lucasfilm compound, and steal the film so Linus can see it before he dies.
Is it any good?
Featuring plenty of in jokes and cameos (Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher both appear), FANBOYS is, like the behavior it chronicles, a triumph of passion over judgment. The idea of anyone being excited by the prospect of seeing Phantom Meance now kind of seems like a joke, and director Kyle Newman has minimal interest in asking his actors to actually shape a scene or portray an authentic character (that Marquette and Huntington are believable as separated old friends says more about their charm and skill than it does about the script).
Fanboys has a certain amount of kindness under the surface, but that surface is studded with bathroom humor, unfunny gags, cruel caricatures, and a boys' club attitude that makes women irrelevant (with the exception of Kristen Bell's just-one-of-the-dudes nerdy-hottie, who gets to realize her crush on one of the four -- which is in itself a weird, sexist form of wish fulfillment). Newman seems to be inspired by the pop culture zing and crude zest of Kevin Smith; hard as it is to imagine, Newman could take lessons from the smarts and heart Smith has hidden under the swearing and name-checking in his best scripts.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why they think this movie was rated PG-13 instead of R. Does it seem that different from other crude comedies that did earn R ratings? If so, how?
Discuss the overall cultural impact -- for good and for ill -- of Star Wars.
How have George Lucas' films changed how we watch movies? How have they affected what kids of movies get made?
What happens when someone's love for a piece of pop culture goes a little too far?